To Pay or Not to Pay: A 2013-14 Study of Museum Practice

Museum Questions

Recently, five museum professionals took it upon themselves to conduct a survey of museums and the issue of paid vs unpaid educators. These intrepid professionals were Jeanne Hoel, The Museum of Contemporary Art, LA; Barbara Bassett, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Sheila McGuire, Minneapolis Institute of Arts; and April Oswald, Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute. Jeanne shared the findings from this study on December 10th, at a National Art Education Association Museum Education Division Peer 2 Peer Google Hangout dedicated to the topic of paid and unpaid museum teaching staff. Jeanne’s full power point presentation is here.

Paid eds and volunteers

Of the 66 museums that responded to the survey, 62% use unpaid educators, 24% use a hybrid model (they work with both paid and volunteer educators), and 14% use all-paid staff. Most museums, then, rely at least partly on volunteers to lead tours.

The study also asked, “What do you want students to take away from their tour experiences?” Below…

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